Capitalist ideology aims to impart the notion that we are worthy of love and belonging - but only once we have bought into their product or service. Advertising props up this notion with the assumption that we are inadequate - stealing your love of ourselves, and selling it back at a price.
Brené Brown has found through extensive quantitative research that the one thing that keeps us from love and belonging is the fear that we are not worthy of love and belonging.
You’re not perfect, you’re never going to be, and that’s the good news.
Book design, cover design, art direction. Published by Manchester Metropolitan University. The book follows the life and works of Woman of the Year 2008 Ghislaine Howard.
Concert programme for Heath St, London.
Wales Online Article
Creative Tourist Article
"Not only has Micah Purnell grasped the toxicity of Affluenza, he has used imagination and playfulness to provide artistic vaccines against the virus. Congratulations on such a fine idea!"
Oliver James | Author and Psychologist.
Still in the top 10 most liked photo's on Getty images instagram feed who boast over 70,000 followers. My 'Put down your phone and talk to me piece shows there is real value added to work in a public space especially as they go viral.
Arts Council England & Arts Council Wales funded billboard projects across Manchester and the Welsh Capital.
The work has since toured and has been exhibited in South Dakota, USA, Belfast, Northern Ireland and Cheltenham, England among others.
During two week in 2014 billboards across Manchester City Centre, England and Cardif, Wales displayed word play artwork that discuss some of the challenges facing consumers of Western progress. The project creator, conceptual artist and graphic designer Micah Purnell generated an open dialogue about issues including identity, fantasy and presence. Thousands of beermats, flyers, posters and badges accompanied the project and were found in bars and pubs around the city during the outdoor exhibition.
Purnell who grew up in urban Manchester is predominantly a text based artist and graphic designer. He uses both skills to debate contemporary ideology stemming from his love hate relationship with advertising.
Purnell says that:
“Facebook, Twitter and Youtube connect people; films, online gambling and computer games entertain; Ebay and Amazon provide click quick shopping to your door and the iphone has it all, but are we missing something?”
Much of the work has been influenced by Oliver James’ book Affluenza. The Affluenza virus, as described by James, is a set of values which increase our vulnerability to psychological distress: placing a high value on acquiring money and possessions, looking good in the eyes of others and wanting to be famous - all encouraged by mainstream media and advertising. Many studies have shown that this increases our susceptibility to the commonest mental illnesses: depression, anxiety and personality disorder.
“For all the time saving, life giving consumables available it seems that it is actual life that we are missing” adds Purnell.
Dear Progress is an open letter to the contemporary idea of progress and asks ‘are we really going forward?”
The work itself is originally crafted using a 1960s Smith Corona Corsair typewriter; a nod to it’s decline in the 70s and the introduction of the technological revolutionDear Progress was devised to encourage a conversation about how to manage the incessant overload of desire eliciting nature in mainstream media.
Naming, copy and ID for independent tea merchant Wooha!
Commissioned artwork by the curators of the Cornerhouse (now HOME), Manchester.
The work; a collection of 12 birdcages housing a variety of found and bought objects, question the freedom consumerism appears to offer. It has been touring the UK since 2012 and is due to be on show at St Ann’s Church, Manchester, July 2019.
Capitalism isn’t natural because it drives us to self interest which pushes us to private spaces and alienates us from community and divides us through competition.
Artist catalogue design.
Design and art direction.
Logo and album art.
Textile illustrations Alison Purnell.
Poster and devices for Heath St, London
7 meter wide neon on St Ann’s church, due to be Manchester installed Aug 2019
A transgressive festival that mixes the best in incendiary intellectual exploration with underground art, music, magic, comedy, cabaret and talks to forge an experience that embodies the destabilizing essence of pyrotheology.
Piece in collaboration with Primesight for the book ‘This Is The Place, Tony Walsh and Friends’ book, after the Manchester Arena attack.
Photography by Adrian Lambert
Tearfund’s youth engagement platform redesign with a movement feel.
Artwork for album Asleep in the Back whilst with Five Feet Tall.
Cover design for single Red, reverse of single Powder Blue, inlay to album booklet.
Hand script lettering on super early CD singles Any Day Now and Newborn
Book of paintings on a deep Gmund G.F.Smith paper which added weight to a moving tribute by Ghislaine Howard after the Manchester Arena attack.
Typographic Circle from Presence Project book Shapes.
Design and concept.
Design and playful ‘under construction’ copy relating to the purpose and function of presenceproject.com
Copy and typography for asylum seeker awareness campaign.
Concept for Parker Andrews a British brand who provide high end phone case protectors. Parker means Keeper of the Park (the phone), Andrews meaning Manly (the protector). The native Airedale Terrier is used by the Royal Guard, the police, and guide dogs which represents everything Parker Andrews stands for.
Identity and branding including web design for one of the most prestigious art trails in Manchester. Host venues include the iconic John Rylands Library, Manchester Art Gallery featuring Anthony Gormley, The Hidden Jem, Manchester Cathedral and St Ann’s Church.
Analogue made typography.
Just a photocopier and plenty of play.
This piece was the result of experimentation of spray paint onto acetate, pressing against paper and peeling off. The result is not what I was attempting to achieve in the slightest but I bloody well liked it.
As Seth Godin says ‘artists ship’ produce, produce, produce.
ID for 2020 Chiaya Art Awards whose roots are Judeo-Christian, but hope was to be inclusive to all faiths and non. £10,000 winning exhibition at OXO LDN.
Poster design for Heath St, London
Series of exhibitions each sub-titled with their own ID.
A visual exploration of Ecclesiastes
Promotional material for a host of music and theatre productions at the Hampsted venue, London.
High end experimental typographic kaleidoscopic book design, art direction, experimental typography, prose and maxims.
Select pages from the book It Spooks.
First and last image words by Micah Purnell.
All artwork by Micah Purnell
Shelter50 publishing South Dakota
Founder of Print & Paste, an 18 month curated outdoor art campaign in Manchester, England.
Public spaces are dominated by commercial interest. These street campaigns are an attempt to disrupt a space so bent on profit.
A couple of commissions for sibling brothers.
I was provided with words and pictures to illustrate how I felt.
Design and art direction
Logo, strapline, web design.
The Aesthetic Trust for the inspiration behind the piece.
When a psychologist, sociologist and philosopher tell three ad agencies what we need to live well, the results are an ad campaign Selling Virtues.
Website for more
“The text may be black and white,
but the language is in full colour”.
Malcolm Garrett | Master | Faculty of Royal Designers, RSA
Pocket book of 80+ maxims that play with the order of words and the order of life.
Logo, branding and colour consideration for city centre studio space.
Logo, branding and identity.
Spot the difference
Urbis Gallery ran a typographic ad campaign to promote the ‘Best of Manchester Awards’ for the best art, music and fashion. I wanted to engage with Urbis and steal their audience. So, I designed an anonymous spoof poster and had 100 fly-posted. At first glance it was so similar it passed off as authentic.
The gallery announced the work as, “in the spirit of the competition” and within days they initiated a search for, “Manchester’s Banksy” increasing exposure monumentally. They used a number of award winning bloggers, social media and an article in 75,000 copies of the MEN, all with a ‘spot the difference’ photo.
The artwork was subsequently exhibited as part of the awards ceremony. My campaign grew with correlating designs covertly flyered on the opening night. It was also the catalyst which initiated an approach from another organisation, securing £11,000 for similar public interventions.
App branding logo and identity.
Corporate Art for flagship restaurant.
Artwork depicting brands as the dictators of culture.
Design and art direction depicting the Troubles in Ireland’s Bogside.
Identity, web design, artist catalogue and trail, promotional material.
Abstract mark making
Photography as part of Olivero Toscani’s work with Fabrica, Italy
Branding, logo and identity to feed through to interior, signage, menus and promotional material.
Add Art is a project curated by Micah Purnell and exists to replace advertising with something wholesome, funny or beautiful. Because advertising take strain on our wellbeing.
The board is located in a popular district of Manchester called Ancoats. It gains over 5 million total annual impressions.
Artists from the USA, Japan, UK and Turkey have all graced the board including names such as Anthony Burrill, Stanley Chow, Tash Wilcocks, Jason Munn, Jane Bowyer and Andrew Rae
Promotional poster for US artist Denise Casey.
School of Thought is an intensive twelve week course and creative competition for people who want to learn to develop and pitch big ideas. Over the twelve weeks you will visit leading Manchester agencies to hear from creative directors and senior creatives who will share their thoughts on advertising - and challenge you to present yours.
Each week you will be given a creative brief and you will return three days later to pitch your 'big idea' to your peers and industry tutor. It will be fun, frantic and painful - and all at the same time. But you will come out the other end with a new perspective on what it takes to make it in the creative industry. If you're really good, you might even have a trip to Cannes Lions to show for it.
Although there can be only one winner I was pleased to be beaten by an outstanding creative.
Available now for preorder Waterstones and a stack of other places.
Design Week Article
Ahead of the Design Manchester event 2014, creatives from across the North West have collaborated on new works for the 10×10 exhibition at Federation House.
I asked Oliver James (Author & Psychologist), Neil Boorman (Mother Ad Agency) and Steve Lambert (Artist, Activist. USA) how our imagination is effected by advertising. The results were a domineering body of work, billboard scale brought indoors for the show.
The Naked Truth Project (TNTP) approached me to open a conversation about the elephant in the room, the emperors new clothes, the dark side of Porn.
The line I came up with drew attention to both those who may approve AND disapprove of pornography by using a line that was abstract to it's persuasion. How Good Is Porn could be a statement of praise or a question to be discussed.
A guerrilla campaign using stickers, temporary spray paint and fly posters was devised and laid out across the creative quarter, student quarter and red light district of Manchester.
TNTP wanted to create a talking point about some of the negative aspects of the damaging aspects of pornography. We devised a plan to encourage a conversation at the safest place possible. Online. Anonymously. We wanted to debunk some of the myths surrounding porn and we did this by a short and snappy online voting system.
The campaign spread to blogs and news articles including the Huffington post with a diverse response online.
The campaign was followed with Valentines day Guerrilla marketing.
Naked Truth aims to open eyes & free lives from the damaging impact of porn.
Lucy Uprichard of the Huffington Post says "If nothing else, the HGIP project forces you to reassess exactly how much of a growing concern porn is. Everybody knows at the very back of their minds that so much of pornography is morally questionable to say the least, but we rarely mention it or act upon it. There is a misconception in some feminist circles that porn is just another form of sexual freedom that should be tolerated without comment. This shouldn't be the case - if there is an area where we should be as critical as possible it is sex work. Romanticized images of Billie Piper in 'Secret Diary Of A Call Girl' aside, there are real dangers in the world of prostitution and porn that cannot be ignored, and the How Good Is Porn project is one small step towards bringing these into the public consciousness."
‘SEEK AND YE SHALL FIND’ IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR LOVE, LONDON & MANCHESTER COMMUTERS ARE TOLD
As weary commuters return to work this week, they are being told ‘Seek and ye shall find’ and
‘Love is patient, love is kind’. The Bible quotes will be familiar to many, but rather than a cry from the pulpit to repent, the positive messages are being aimed at single Christians looking for love.
The campaign, which is running at the busiest time in the dating calendar can be seen on the Tube, LDN and Metrolink, MCR this month. It has been created by Manchester artist Micah Purnell for the award-winning dating site ChristianConnection.com. One advert states that “Love is patient, love is kind. (But sometimes hard to find).” That is, unless you’re looking in the right place.
Copy and design of these steel plated street signs (series of three) bolted to posts for over six years in Manchester.